Tag Archives: health

How to Tell if You’re Dehydrated

Staying hydrated is a basic but essential part of a healthy, functioning body. When we’re hungry, the body is usually not shy about reminding us to eat (sometimes with loud, grumbling noises that flare up during the quietest moment of a meeting). But the body is much more subtle when it comes to letting us know we’re short on fluids.

Dehydration can cause fatigue and affect cognitive abilities, which can lead to serious problems. In order to prevent this, look out for these signs that you should reach for a water bottle:

You feel dizzy when you stand up too fast. Blood pressure drops when you’re dehydrated, which can leave you feeling dizzy and give you a rush of lightheadedness when you get up too quickly.

Your lips and hands are cracking. Dehydration often makes its way to your skin, which can result in cracks forming on your lips and knuckles. This can be itchy and painful.

You have headaches. While a headache can signify a hundred different things, one of the most common causes of headaches is dehydration. When the brain is dehydrated it can actually shrink, just like a sponge due to lost fluid.

Your limbs are cramping. Dehydration is responsible for cramps, because it alters your body’s balance of electrolytes, which are responsible for keeping your muscles functional.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the right amount of water per day is 11.5 cups for women and 15.5 cups for men. Of course, this fluctuates with body type and health levels, but in general it’s a good baseline to shoot for.

 

Three Dairy-Free Ice Creams

Lactose intolerance means your body has a hard time digesting and breaking down lactose, a natural sugar found in milk and other dairy products. It can sure seem like a social injustice for a number of reasons, not the least of which includes hindering one’s ability to eat ice cream! As a child, I remember being flabbergasted and barely able to believe that some of my friends had to stay away from the sweet, unrivaled treat that is ice cream.

Then I discovered an entire grocery freezer shelf stocked with alternate options, some that are even tastier than their counterparts! Not all is lost, after all, for those who cannot tolerate lactose. Here are three delicious ice cream brands for those looking to avoid dairy:

NadaMoo: NadaMoo’s ice cream is made with a coconut cream base, which gives it a delectable airy, whipped texture. Unlike other coconut-based ice creams, NadaMoo’s pints don’t contain an overly-present coconut flavor. I suggest the Rocky Road.

Ben and Jerry’s: The classic ice cream duo recently came out with a line of non-dairy pints, and it makes me love those two even more. These creations are made with almond milk and come in seven different flavors. You can’t go wrong with their big seller: Cherry Garcia!

Talenti: Talenti’s Peanut Butter Fudge pint is a knockout. Unlike the other dairy-free options on the market, this one is made not with soy, cashew, coconut or almond–but with real peanut butter! It’s like digging your spoon into a big tub of frozen peanut butter and dairy-free fudge swirl. You can’t go wrong.

 

Pros and Cons of a Standing Desk

It seems like every week there is another doctor proclaiming the deadly dangers of too much sitting. “Too much time spent sitting can lead to an early death!” they say. Here’s how it affects your health: when slumped in a chair, your body’s calorie-burning slows to a third of the rate it is while walking. Metabolism drops. Your risk of developing diabetes and becoming obese grows.

Are you considering a standing workplace station yet? To help with that decision, here are some pros and cons to standing desks:

THE PROS:

Calories. You burn more calories. Standing burns anywhere from 20-100% (depending on the study) more calories than sitting.

Less lower back pain. If your standing desk is set up ergonomically correct, it’s likely that it will improve lower back pain.

More energy. While this might sound counterintuitive, it’s actually a rebound effect of standing. If you spend an extra bit of energy standing, your body rebounds, giving you a bit more energy.

THE CONS:

Foot pain. If you go from sitting eight hours a day to standing eight hours a day, you will definitely feel it in your feet. To pull off a standing desk, you’ll need very comfortable shoes.

Decreased concentration. While this varies on the person, studies show that workers requiring lots of analytical concentration have better luck sitting down.

Coworkers. If you are at the only standing desk in the office, your coworkers may not be excited about a person looming over them. In a workplace, it’s always important to be considerate of those around you.

 

Tips for Healthy Tailgating

If you are like many Americans and revel in the time-honored customs of football season, you’re familiar with the food that often accompanies tailgating. You also know that game day snacks are typically heavy, cheesy, fill-up-your-belly-until-it-might-burst foods. While it’s true that bottomless plates of nachos provide the important energy required for shouting at blind referees, the truth is that there are plenty of healthy (and tasty!) alternatives to greasy tailgating foods. Here are my tips for healthier tailgating:

B.Y.O.S.: Bring Your Own Snacks! The best way to steer clear of the beckoning buffalo chicken wings is to bring your own lighter alternative. Some tasty ideas include veggies with hummus, lightly salted popcorn, or buffalo cauliflower bites with ranch dressing.

HYDRATE: Keep drinking water throughout the day. Oftentimes people confuse thirst with hunger and needlessly fill up their plates for another round. Additionally, it’s all too easy to reach for another alcoholic beverage–but just make sure you’re getting enough plain old H20 as well.

GET MOVING: Toss the football, play some cornhole, run around with the little ones, play fetch with the dog or take a walk with your friends. Tailgating is about watching the game, but it’s also about socializing with friends and enjoying the fall weather!

With just a little planning, you can be a healthy person and still an awesome tailgater.

The Surprising Health Benefits of Pumpkin

October is upon us! Along with chilly temperatures and colorful trees, this month brings an abundance of a particular orange squash: the pumpkin!

Often seen piled in heaps at grocery stores and arranged vibrantly at roadside stands, pumpkins are popping up everywhere this month. While we are all familiar with the time-old tradition of jack-o-lantern carving, there are many who end the project there. However, those slimy handfuls that you pull out of your jack-o-lantern are actually rich in nutrients and should be turned into a yummy snack: ravioli, bread, pancakes — and yes, pie. Here are a few health benefits to be had in October’s signature squash:

1.   Pumpkins could reduce the risk of cancer.

Pumpkins, like their orange ally the sweet potato, are chock full of the antioxidant beta-carotene, which may play a role in cancer prevention. And, the National Cancer Institute says that food sources of beta-carotene are even more helpful than a supplement!

2.   Pumpkins are great post-workout.

We’ve all heard that you should reach for a banana to get a surge in potassium after a hard workout, but did you know that a cup of pumpkin has even more potassium than a banana? Eating pumpkin after a workout can help restore your electrolytes and keep your muscles functioning at their best.

3.   Pumpkins are good for your vision.

The radiant orange color of a pumpkin comes from its supply of Vitamin A, which is essential for your eye health. In fact, one single cup of pumpkin holds more than 200% of most people’s recommended daily intake of Vitamin A.

So go ahead–have that second piece of pumpkin pie. It’s good for your health!

How to Kick that Summer Cold

 There are few things more frustrating than being bed-bound due to the fatigue, hacking and throbbing that accompany a cold, when all you want is to be out enjoying the summer sun. To make matters worse, it’s proven that summer colds tend to last longer than the ones you catch in the winter, and they have a higher chance of recurring.

Although there isn’t a certifiable cure for the common cold, these tried-and-true tips should have you feeling better in no time:

Up Your Vitamin C

Vitamin C isn’t proven to actually prevent colds, but it has been shown to boost your immunity and potentially shorten the longevity of your cold. If you’re not big into taking supplements, try incorporating these foods into your diet that are loaded with vitamin C.

Get Plenty of Rest

We all know that summer is the time of endless outdoor activities with friends whether it’s a backyard get-together, a meet-up at the trendiest rooftop bar for happy hour or even a walk in your local park. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real thing, but in the long run, you’re better off skipping out on plans with friends to get better. Overexerting yourself is only going to ultimately prolong your sniffly condition. Try to get as much rest as possible to bolster your immune system.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

All of the sneezing and blowing your nose that comes as a result of a cold can lead to dehydration, so it’s important to counteract that by continually drinking water. Besides the obvious need of fueling your body with water to keep hydrated, consistently downing fluids will help to keep your throat and nasal passages open and lubricated. Hot liquids especially, like tea or broth, relieve nasal congestion and can soothe inflamed tissue that lines your passages.

As always, consult your doctor if your symptoms or conditions worsen or continue to persist longer than two weeks. Feel free to leave a comment in the section below to let me know if you have any remedies for treating a summer cold.

Health Fads vs. Health Facts

Every day, the Internet provides some new trend or article about how to be a healthier you. Take a shot of this vinegar or eat this “superfood” eighteen times a day. A recent American Heart Association report, however, debunked the unsupported theory that coconut oil is a health conscience food choice. So, how do we know which health tips are legit? Here are a few recommendations on how to see through the fake (health) news:

1.       Check the Source

Always be sure to check the source of whatever article you’re reading. If the information is coming from a registered dietitian or a doctor, it’s more likely to be valid than if the article is just a columnist with no background in health.

2.       Recognize the Dietary Restrictions

Any diet that’s telling you to completely cut out any one part of your diet—sugars, carbs, etc.—is a no-go. Depriving our bodies of any one food group will ultimately lead to a binge. You’re better off eating smaller portions of well-rounded meals to keep you full, healthy and content. 

3.       Be Wary of the “Quick Fix”

If any product or diet promises “immediate results” or a quick cure, it’s probably not going to work. The only way to achieve your health goals is to eat a well-rounded, balanced diet and pair that with daily activity. It’s a process of transformation, but it’s a lifestyle development that will pay off in the long run. 

Regardless of the validity behind any new health craze, you should always consult with your doctor before making any significant dietary change. For more information, check out the FDA’s rundown of how to spot health fraud. And feel free to leave a comment in the section below to let me know about any of the fads you’ve tried — what worked, what didn’t, and what to be on the lookout for!

Beat the Heat with Summer Style

I can be daunting to look at the forecast only to see high temps creeping towards triple digits. In order to tackle the summer heat and keep your cool, just follow these few simple tips.

Sunglasses, SPF and Hats – Oh My!

It’s pretty obvious as to how an itchy, uncomfortable sunburn can ruin an outfit. Protect your skin, and sanity for that matter, with continual application of a sunscreen (SPF 50 research says). To keep your outfit stylish and your face safe, you can always opt for a floppy hat. Also, if the eyes are the window to the soul, think of your sunglasses as black-out curtains, protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays.

Keep it Cotton (or other natural fibers)

Wearing breathable fabrics like cotton or linen is a sure-fire way to keep your internal body temperature in check. These breathable fabrics are key in making sure that you can enjoy the outdoors without compromising your comfort.

Opt for Lighter Colors

We all know that wearing all-black is a slimming option, but in terms of keeping cool, it’s best to leave the darker hues for winter. Go with lighter colors because they reflect the heat instead of absorb it. Besides, who wants to be drab when white or a bright color can lighten your mood and the feeling of stifling heat?

The Looser, the Better

Flowy clothes don’t cling to your body, allowing air to circulate to your skin. While the common misconception may be that to stay cool you need to shed as many clothes as possible, you’ll feel more comfortable and be more protected from the heat and sun in non-clingy skirts, tops, dresses and pants. 

How to Keep Pets Feeling Fresh

The first “official” day of summer might not be here yet, but most of us are already feeling the heat. With weather this nice, it’s impossible to stay inside. But before you pack up to take on the great outdoors with a furry friend, check out these tips on how to keep your pet happy and safe this summer season.

  1. Don’t leave your pet in an unattended vehicle.
    This is a biggie. Cars retain more heat than an open area, even in the shade. No matter if you roll down your windows, it’s easy for dogs to overheat and become dehydrated quickly. If this hasn’t already hit it home, some states have laws in place making it illegal to leave animals in a confined vehicle.
  2. Keep your pet hydrated.
    Just like you and me, pets get thirsty. In fact, they get dehydrated even quicker because they don’t have the pores to sweat, so they can’t control their body temperature. Make sure to always have fresh, clean water on hand for your pet whether you’re out taking a walk or just playing in the yard.
  3. Be smart about your outdoor time.
    To avoid dehydration, it’s best to limit when and how much you do when it’s hot outside. Opt to be outside with your pet early in the morning or in the evening so your pet still gets the exercise he needs with a smaller risk of overheating. If you can’t avoid the hottest times of the day, at least do your best to avoid hot surfaces like asphalt that could overheat your pup’s paws.

The best way to keep your pet safe is to just be aware. Don’t let the heat spoil your summer; follow these simple tips to keep your pet healthy, happy and hydrated!

How to Avoid Bug Bites

Summer time is almost here, and that means lots of time outside. Whether you are going on a camping or hiking trip, or just planting a garden in your backyard, protection against bug bites can prevent you from irritated and itchy spots on your skin.

Bug spray, such as Repel Lemon Eucalyptus or Sawyer Picaridin (safe for children), should be applied before any outdoor activity to prevent bites.

Wearing long sleeves and pants can help prevent bites. Avoid wearing bright colors that attract bugs. Don’t wear sandals.

Don’t wear perfume or scented hair or body products.

Stay away from still-standing water and remove bodies of water around your home to prevent mosquitoes laying eggs.

Use screens on open doors and windows. Use air conditioning during hot, summer days.

Taking these steps will help you spend lots of time outside this summer without pesky bugs attacking you!